Highlights from Ratner/Coliseum press conference

Bruce Ratner officially announced planned changes for the Coliseum at a press conference in Long Island Friday.

Bruce Ratner officially announced planned changes for the Coliseum at a press conference in Long Island Friday.

A press conference was held today at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island to officially announce that Bruce Ratner and his company Forest City Ratner have won the bid to redevelop the Coliseum. Nets head coach Jason Kidd was there for some reason and it was boring for the most part with local politicians congratulating themselves as if they weren’t at least partially to blame for losing the New York Islanders. Here were the most interesting parts though:

  • “This place will look completely different. it will look beautiful, I guarantee it,” Ratner said in his opening remarks. “This is a very, very special day. Thank you Nassau County. For too many years this coliseum has struggled to reinvent itself.  You did the right thing, You made the right choice and we will prove it to you. This will become one of the greatest arenas in the world.”
  • In a remark that was not meant to be ironic, Ratner said, “It’ll all be built by union labor. We are a union only company. Unions built the middle class. Thank you unions.”
  • Ratner said they will completely redo the Coliseum’s plaza and add six or seven restaurants, a bowling alley, an amphitheater, a Filmore club, and a monument for the Nassau county veterans.
  • He also said the amphitheater will have an outdoor rink in the winter and compared it to Bryant Park in Manhattan.
  • The exterior of the Coliseum will look totally different, “I’ve always said that you must make architecture iconic because that’s the image left in the mind. With respect to the interior we’ll make this place a bit more theatrical especially the concourse,” Ratner said.
  • There is a small possibility that the Islanders could leave sooner than 2015, but Ratner emphasized that it is a small possibility. He said the final decision on that will be made soon.
  • Construction is expected to start as soon as the Islanders’ 2015 season is over, so around May or June of 2015, and it is expected to take 15-18 months with a targeted finishing date of Sept. 2017.
  • The Sound Tigers will move into the Coliseum pending a lease agreement with Charles Wang (which should not be much of a hold up so this is pretty official).
  • Brett Yormark confirmed that the Islanders will play six games at the Coliseum a year (likely two preseason, four regular season) with the Nets playing one preseason game a year as well as holding some open practices.
  • Yormark also added that they want to have a “legacy moment” at the new Coliseum similar to what they did with Jay Z opening up the Barclays Center with eight concerts. He said they will announce the artist in the coming week.

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